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Noscapine use for prostate cancer studied

SAN DIEGO, March 23 (UPI) -- U.S. medical investigators say they have discovered noscapine, a cough medicine ingredient, can be used as a prophylactic treatment for prostate cancer.

The researchers from the University of California-San Diego, the Prostate Cancer Research and Education Foundation, also in San Diego, and the MedInsight Research Institute in Baltimore concluded noscapine administered as a preventive measure might offer significant benefits in the management of prostate cancer, a disease that kills more than 28,000 men in the United States each year.

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The latest research focused on pre-treating mice with noscapine before injecting them with prostate cancer cells. That, said the scientists, resulted in the tumor growth rate being two-thirds smaller in the noscapine group than the non-noscapine group.

The study also found lung metastasis rates were 80 percent less in the mice pre-treated with noscapine while the noscapine group suffered no cancer-related weight loss, compared with significant weight loss in the non-noscapine group.

Noscapine has been used worldwide since the 1950s as an ingredient in over-the-counter cough medicines and was originally suggested as an anti-cancer agent in the early 1960s. But major studies of its anti-cancer properties have only taken place in recent years.

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The findings appear in the journal Anticancer Research.

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